Survey results revealed in first stage of Tamworth…What’s Next? consultation

Hundreds of people have so far taken part in a wide-ranging consultation which seeks to explore how Tamworth town centre can evolve and grow for the future.

In addition to hundreds of comments across social media, more than 200 people submitted their thoughts via a short survey form online and printed in the Tamworth Herald newspaper.

These responses were used to pull out some common themes and the top 10 ideas people felt were key to town centre regeneration.

The survey findings formed the basis of further discussion during a series of open workshops sessions held in the council chamber with Leader of the Council, Cllr Daniel Cook.

Around 80 people attended across the three events, including 30 business owners, and some really positive discussions took place, with a variety of interesting ideas put forward.

Cllr Cook, who has led the campaign as part of a renewed focus on Tamworth town centre, said: “We’ve had a great response to the Tamworth..What’s Next? campaign so far and it’s been brilliant to see so many people engaging in the debate, taking part in the discussion and, most importantly, coming forward with their ideas. Town centre regeneration has always been a priority for this council but we really want to focus our efforts on how we can ensure it grows and evolves, despite changes in shopping habits and the national retail picture.

“We have to establish a new vision for Tamworth town centre, to identify viable uses that people want and the market can support - we need an evolution of what the town centre is, that is fit for the 21st century. We need to define what the town should be offering to ensure it is a thriving and successful place that people want to visit. However, we can’t rush it and we can’t do it alone. We have to all work together to make sure that whatever we do is right for the people, businesses and visitors of this town.

“We’ve made a good start with Tamworth..What’s Next? and we now need to keep those conversations going. It’s been clear that we have many people who are passionate about Tamworth and what it has to offer and if we all start promoting the town and highlighting its positives, this will be a huge help in moving forward.”

Consultation will now continue with further groups in the community, including schools and voluntary groups. All the feedback will be collated in the coming weeks and months so that the issues and ideas raised can be explored further. This may involve setting up some smaller focus groups of interested parties to carry out more research to progress some of the ideas. We will also be identifying where feedback needs to be shared with external partners on issues which Tamworth Borough Council is not able to directly address.

Cllr Cook added: “There were some really interesting topics and themes raised and we will now be looking into and considering all of them. Change won’t happen overnight, but we are committed to improving our town centre.”

Some significant projects are already underway in the town centre, including the £6.2million creation of the Enterprise Quarter and refurbishment of the historic Tamworth Assembly Rooms theatre, due to reopen later this year, and the council purchase of the Gungate site. A major master planning project is currently ongoing as to how that site should be developed in line with what the market needs and can sustain.

The top ten ideas put forward in the initial phase of Tamworth…What’s Next? consultation are:

  1. Niche shops
  2. Quality food court/restaurants
  3. Free/cheaper parking
  4. New museum
  5. Promote heritage
  6. Shuttle bus/tramline
  7. Activities/events for children
  8. Modern shopping centre/bigger shops
  9. Splash pad/water feature/temporary beach
  10. Improved evening entertainment.

The full survey report which draws together the initial findings can be viewed at www.tamworth.gov.uk/tamworth-whats-next, where further ideas can also be submitted.